[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The recruitment kinetics of double-strand break (DSB) signaling and repair proteins Mdc1, 53BP1 and Rad52 into radiation-induced foci was studied by live-cell fluorescence microscopy after ion microirradiation. To investigate the influence of damage density and complexity on recruitment kinetics, which cannot be done by UV laser irradiation used in former studies, we utilized 43 MeV carbon ions with high linear energy transfer per ion (LET = 370 keV/µm) to create a large fraction of clustered DSBs, thus forming complex DNA damage, and 20 MeV protons with low LET (LET = 2.6 keV/µm) to create mainly isolated DSBs. Kinetics for all three proteins was characterized by a time lag period T(0) after irradiation, during which no foci are formed. Subsequently, the proteins accumulate into foci with characteristic mean recruitment times τ(1). Mdc1 accumulates faster (T(0) = 17 ± 2 s, τ(1) = 98 ± 11 s) than 53BP1 (T(0) = 77 ± 7 s, τ(1) = 310 ± 60 s) after high LET irradiation. However, recruitment of Mdc1 slows down (T(0) = 73 ± 16 s, τ(1) = 1050 ± 270 s) after low LET irradiation. The recruitment kinetics of Rad52 is slower than that of Mdc1, but exhibits the same dependence on LET. In contrast, the mean recruitment time τ(1) of 53BP1 remains almost constant when varying LET. Comparison to literature data on Mdc1 recruitment after UV laser irradiation shows that this rather resembles recruitment after high than low LET ionizing radiation. So this work shows that damage quality has a large influence on repair processes and has to be considered when comparing different studies.
PLoS ONE 01/2012; 7(7):e41943. · 3.73 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Epigenetic alterations induced by ionizing radiation may contribute to radiation carcinogenesis. To detect relative accumulations or losses of constitutive post-translational histone modifications in chromatin regions surrounding DNA double-strand breaks (DSB), we developed a method based on ion microirradiation and correlation of the signal intensities after immunofluorescence detection of the histone modification in question and the DSB marker γ-H2AX. We observed after ionizing irradiation markers for transcriptional silencing, such as accumulation of H3K27me3 and loss of active RNA polymerase II, at chromatin regions labeled by γ-H2AX. Confocal microscopy of whole nuclei and of ultrathin nuclear sections revealed that the histone modification H3K4me3, which labels transcriptionally active regions, is underrepresented in γ-H2AX foci. While some exclusion of H3K4me3 is already evident at the earliest time amenable to this kind of analysis, the anti-correlation apparently increases with time after irradiation, suggesting an active removal process. Focal accumulation of the H3K4me3 demethylase, JARID1A, was observed at damaged regions inflicted by laser irradiation, suggesting involvement of this enzyme in the DNA damage response. Since no accumulation of the repressive mark H3K9me2 was found at damaged sites, we suggest that DSB-induced transcriptional silencing resembles polycomb-mediated silencing rather than heterochromatic silencing.
Chromosome Research 10/2011; 19(7):883-99. · 2.85 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Extensive changes of higher order chromatin arrangements can be observed during prometaphase, terminal cell differentiation and cellular senescence. Experimental systems where major reorganization of nuclear architecture can be induced under defined conditions, may help to better understand the functional implications of such changes. Here, we report on profound chromatin reorganization in fibroblast nuclei by chaetocin, a thiodioxopiperazine metabolite. Chaetocin induces strong condensation of chromosome territories separated by a wide interchromatin space largely void of DNA. Cell viability is maintained irrespective of this peculiar chromatin phenotype. Cell cycle markers, histone signatures, and tests for cellular senescence and for oxidative stress indicate that chaetocin induced chromatin condensation/clustering (CICC) represents a distinct entity among nuclear phenotypes associated with condensed chromatin. The territorial organization of entire chromosomes is maintained in CICC nuclei; however, the conventional nuclear architecture harboring gene-dense chromatin in the nuclear interior and gene-poor chromatin at the nuclear periphery is lost. Instead gene-dense and transcriptionally active chromatin is shifted to the periphery of individual condensed chromosome territories where nascent RNA becomes highly enriched around their outer surface. This chromatin reorganization makes CICC nuclei an attractive model system to study this border zone as a distinct compartment for transcription. Induction of CICC is fully inhibited by thiol-dependent antioxidants, but is not related to the production of reactive oxygen species. Our results suggest that chaetocin functionally impairs the thioredoxin (Trx) system, which is essential for deoxynucleotide synthesis, but in addition involved in a wide range of cellular functions. The mechanisms involved in CICC formation remain to be fully explored.
Experimental Cell Research 03/2010; 316(10):1662-80. · 3.56 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This live cell study of chromatin dynamics in four dimensions (space and time) in cycling human cells provides direct evidence for three hypotheses first proposed by Theodor Boveri in seminal studies of fixed blastomeres from Parascaris equorum embryos: (I) Chromosome territory (CT) arrangements are stably maintained during interphase. (II) Chromosome proximity patterns change profoundly during prometaphase. (III) Similar CT proximity patterns in pairs of daughter nuclei reflect symmetrical chromosomal movements during anaphase and telophase, but differ substantially from the arrangement in mother cell nucleus. Hypothesis I could be confirmed for the majority of interphase cells. A minority, however, showed complex, rotational movements of CT assemblies with large-scale changes of CT proximity patterns, while radial nuclear arrangements were maintained. A new model of chromatin dynamics is proposed. It suggests that long-range DNA-DNA interactions in cell nuclei may depend on a combination of rotational CT movements and locally constrained chromatin movements.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Chromosome shattering has been described as a special form of mitotic catastrophe, which occurs in cells with unrepaired DNA damage. The shattered chromosome phenotype was detected after application of a methanol/acetic acid (MAA) fixation protocol routinely used for the preparation of metaphase spreads. The corresponding phenotype in the living cell and the mechanism leading to this mitotic catastrophe have remained speculative so far. In the present study, we used V79 Chinese hamster cells, stably transfected with histone H2BmRFP for live-cell observations, and induced generalized chromosome shattering (GCS) by the synergistic effect of UV irradiation and caffeine posttreatment. We demonstrate that GCS can be derived from abnormal mitotic cells with a parachute-like chromatin configuration (PALCC) consisting of a bulky chromatin mass and extended chromatin fibers that tether centromeres at a remote, yet normally shaped spindle apparatus. This result hints at a chromosome condensation failure, yielding a "shattered" chromosome complement after MAA fixation. Live mitotic cells with PALCCs proceeded to interphase within a period similar to normal mitotic cells but did not divide. Instead they formed cells with highly abnormal nuclear configurations subject to apoptosis after several hours. We propose a factor depletion model where a limited pool of proteins is involved both in DNA repair and chromatin condensation. Chromosome condensation failure occurs when this pool becomes depleted.
Biophysics of Structure and Mechanism 08/2009; 38(6):729-47. · 2.44 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We describe a new setup at the ion microprobe SNAKE (Superconducting Nanoscope for Applied nuclear (Kern-) physics Experiments) at the Munich 14 MV Tandem accelerator that facilitates both living cell irradiation with sub micrometer resolution and online optical imaging of the cells before and after irradiation by state of the art phase contrast and fluorescence microscopy. The cells are kept at standard cell growth conditions at 37 degrees C in cell culture medium. After irradiation it is possible to switch from single ion irradiation conditions to cell observation within 0.5 s. First experiments were performed targeting substructures of a cell nucleus that were tagged by TexasRed labeled nucleotides incorporated in the cellular DNA by 55 MeV single carbon ion irradiation. In addition we show first online sequences of short time kinetics of Mdc1 protein accumulation in the vicinity of double strand breaks after carbon ion irradiation. (C) 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research Section B Beam Interactions with Materials and Atoms 01/2009; 267(12-13):2090-2097. · 1.27 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Several proteins are known to form foci at DNA sites damaged by ionizing radiation. We study DNA damage response by immunofluorescence microscopy after microirradiation of cells with energetic ions. By using microirradiation, it is possible to irradiate different regions on a single dish at different time-points and to differentiate between cells irradiated earlier and later. This allows to directly compare immunofluorescence intensities in both subsets of cells with little systematic error because both subsets are cultivated and stained under identical conditions. In addition, by using irradiation patterns such as crossing lines, it is possible to irradiate individual cells twice and to differentiate between immunofluorescence signals resulting from the cellular response to the earlier and to the later irradiation event. Here, we describe the quantitative evaluation of immunofluorescence intensities after sequential irradiation.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We have built an ion-microbeam for studies of the nuclear topography and kinetics of double-strand break repair at the single cell level. Here, we show that a first and a second, delayed single ion exposure at different nuclear sites led to comparable accumulations of phospho-ATM, gamma-H2AX and Mdc1 at both earlier (e) and later (l) microirradiated sites. In contrast, accumulations of 53BP1 and the recombination protein Rad51 were strongly reduced at l-sites. This apparent competition effect is accompanied by a reduced amount of 53BP1 in undamaged areas of the irradiated nuclei. We suggest that a critically limited pool size combined with strong binding at irradiated sites leads to the exhaustion of unbound factors freely roaming the nuclear space. The undersupply of these factors at l-sites requires in addition a long-lasting binding at e-sites or a weaker binding at l-sites. The observed effects suggest that DNA damage response at individual nuclear sites depends on the time course of damage load. This may have implications for therapeutic radiation treatments.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A simple model of homogenous chromatin distribution in HeLa-cell nuclei suggests that the track of an energetic ion hits 30 nm chromatin fibers with a mean distance of 0.55 mum. To test this assumption, living HeLa-cells were irradiated at the irradiation setup of the ion microprobe SNAKE using the ion beams provided by the Munich 14 MV tandem accelerator. After irradiation, the distribution of 53BP1 protein foci was studied by immunofluorescence. The observed 53BP1 distribution along the tracks of 29 MeV (7)Li ions and 24 MeV (12)C ions differed significantly from the expectations resulting from the simple chromatin model, suggesting that the biological track structure is determined by cell nuclear architecture with higher order organisation of chromatin.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The irradiation setup at the ion microprobe SNAKE is used to irradiate living cells with single energetic ions. The irradiation accuracy of 0.55 mu m and respectively 0.40 mu m allows to irradiate substructures of the cell nucleus. By the choice of ion atomic number and energy the irradiation can be performed with a damage density adjustable over more than three orders of magnitude. Immunofluorescence detection techniques show the distribution of proteins involved in the repair of DNA double-strand breaks. In one of the first experiments the kinetics of appearance of irradiation-induced foci in living HeLa cells was examined. In other experiments a new effect was detected which concerned the interaction between irradiation events performed at different time points within the same cell nucleus.